No one shuffles movies around quite like Harvey Weinstein. On Feb. 13, The Weinstein Co. pushed back the release of the Alicia Vikander starrer Tulip Fever for a third time. The move was made just days before the drama was scheduled to open Feb. 24, a shift that once would have raised eyebrows but has become routine. Shot nearly three years ago, Tulip Fever already was moved from a July 15, 2016, slot. At the time, TWC cited Vikander’s and Waltz’s busy promotion schedules for other movies as a reason for the change. Then, Weinstein COO David Glasser said, “It made the most sense to open when they’ll have more time.”
TWC hasn’t rescheduled Tulip Fever. And Weinstein execs offered THR no explanation for the last-minute maneuvers. Earlier in February, TWC pushed its film Leap! back by seven weeks, from March 3 to April 21. The timing of the moves couldn’t come at a worse moment given TWC is facing a $15 million lawsuit for releasing The Founder (Jan. 20) and Gold (Jan. 27) within a weekend of each another (The Founder had moved multiple times previously, from Nov. 25, 2016, to Aug. 5, 2016, and then to Jan. 20, 2017, while Gold shifted from Christmas Day 2016 to Jan. 27). In a Feb. 6 complaint, FilmNation subsidiary Speedie Distribution claimed TWC agreed to not release any other film within a week of The Founder to not crowd the box office.
While Tulip Fever remains in limbo, at least one long-shelved TWC project finally landed a spot on the calendar. The Elle Fanning-led transgender drama Three Generations (formerly known as About Ray), which premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, now is set to open May 19. TWC pulled the Gaby Dellal-helmed movie, which also stars Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon, just three days ahead of its release on Sept. 18, 2015.”It will finally be released — knock on wood,” says Three Generations producer Marc Turtletaub. Still, none of those films’ time on the shelf rivals that of Shanghai, which was shot in 2008 but wasn’t released domestically by TWC until 2015. Weinstein blamed that seven-year wait on the Chinese government, which balked at the film’s positive portrayal of a Japanese character (played by Ken Watanabe). Weinstein told THR in 2015 that Chinese officials informed him: ” ‘I’m sorry, we’re canceling your right to film the movie.’ In those days, there was a much more heightened Japanese-Chinese antipathy.”
This story first appeared in the Feb. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.